On this Day:
In 1916, Samuel Goldwyn and Edgar Selwyn established Goldwyn Pictures, the company became one of the most successful independent filmmakers.
Goldwyn Pictures Corporation was an American motion picture production company that operated from 1916 to 1924 when it was merged with two other production companies to form the major studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was founded by Samuel Goldwyn.
The studio proved moderately successful, but became most famous due to its iconic Leo the Lion trademark. Although Metro was the nominal survivor, the merged studio inherited Goldwyn’s old facility in Culver City, California where it would remain until 1986. The merged studio also retained Goldwyn’s Leo the Lion logo.
Lee Shubert of Shubert Theater was an investor in the company.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, MGM; or Metro) is an American media company, founded in 1924, that produces and distributes feature films and television programs. It is based in Beverly Hills, California.
MGM was formed by Marcus Loew by combining Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Pictures into a single company. It hired a number of well known actors as contract players—its slogan was “more stars than there are in heaven”—and soon became one of Hollywood’s “big five” film studios, producing popular movie musicals and winning many Oscars. The company also owned film studios, movie lots, movie theaters and technical production facilities. Its most prosperous era, from 1926 to 1959, was bracketed by two productions of Ben Hur. After that, it divested itself of the Loews movie theater chain, and, in the 1960s, it diversified into television production. In 1969, Kirk Kerkorian bought 40% of MGM, hired new management, reduced its output to about five movies per year, and diversified its products, creating MGM Resorts International and, in 1973, a Las Vegas-based hotel and casino company (which it divested in the 1980s). In 1980, it acquired United Artists. In 1986, Kerkorian sold the entire company to Ted Turner. Turner soon sold most of it back to Kerkorian who then sold it again in 1992, only to buy it again a third time in 1996. After that he expanded MGM by purchasing Orion Pictures and the Samuel Goldwyn Company, including both of their film libraries. Finally, in 2004, Kerkorian sold the company to a consortium that included Sony Pictures.
In 2010, MGM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization. Later that year, after reorganization, MGM emerged from bankruptcy under the ownership of its creditors. Two former executives at Spyglass Entertainment, Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, became co-chairmen and co-CEOs of MGM’s new holding company. In 2020, with Barber having left MGM, it began looking to be acquired by another company in order to pay its creditors.
On May 26, 2021, Amazon announced that it intended to buy MGM for $8.45 billion, but no date was set for closing the sale. In the present day, MGM is still producing and distributing feature films and television series. Its major film productions include the popular Rocky and James Bond franchises, and among its recent television productions is the very successful series, The Handmaid’s Tale (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
James Bond: There’s something I’d like you to get off your chest…
Second, a Song:
Gigi is a 1958 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli and processed using Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Eastmancolor film process Metrocolor. The screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner is based on the 1944 novella of the same name by Colette. The film features songs with lyrics by Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, arranged and conducted by André Previn.
At the 31st Academy Awards, the film won all nine of its nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Minnelli. It held the record for the highest clean sweep of nominations until The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won all eleven of its nominations at the 76th Academy Awards in 2004.
In 1991, Gigi was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The American Film Institute ranked it number 35 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Passions. The film is considered the last great Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical and the final great achievement of the Freed Unit, headed by producer Arthur Freed.
Maurice Auguste Chevalier (12 September 1888 – 1 January 1972) was a French singer, actor and entertainer. He is perhaps best known for his signature songs, including “Livin’ In The Sunlight”, “Valentine”, “Louise”, “Mimi”, and “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” and for his films, including The Love Parade, The Big Pond, The Smiling Lieutenant, One Hour with You and Love Me Tonight. His trademark attire was a boater hat and tuxedo.
Chevalier was born in Paris. He made his name as a star of musical comedy, appearing in public as a singer and dancer at an early age before working in menial jobs as a teenager. In 1909, he became the partner of the biggest female star in France at the time, Fréhel. Although their relationship was brief, she secured him his first major engagement, as a mimic and a singer in l’Alcazar in Marseille, for which he received critical acclaim by French theatre critics. In 1917, he discovered jazz and ragtime and went to London, where he found new success at the Palace Theatre.
After this, he toured the United States, where he met the American composers George Gershwin and Irving Berlin and brought the operetta Dédé to Broadway in 1922. He developed an interest in acting and had success in Dédé. When talkies arrived, he went to Hollywood in 1928, where he played his first American role in Innocents of Paris. In 1930, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his roles in The Love Parade (1929) and The Big Pond (1930), which secured his first big American hits, “You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me” and “Livin’ in the Sunlight, Lovin’ in the Moonlight”.
In 1957, he appeared in Love in the Afternoon, which was his first Hollywood film in more than 20 years. In 1958, he starred with Leslie Caron and Louis Jourdan in Gigi. In the early 1960s, he made eight films, including Can-Can in 1960 and Fanny the following year. In 1970, he made his final contribution to the film industry where he sang the title song of the Disney film The Aristocats. He died in Paris, on 1 January 1972, from complications of a suicide attempt (per Wikipedia).
Here is Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold performing “I Remember It Well” from the movie “Gigi”. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians.” – Francis Ford Coppola
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky